Our Nursery

Cradle Staff with Babies in Cradle Nursery

About The Cradle Nursery

The Cradle is the only adoption agency in the country with an on-site nursery offering a safe, neutral place for infants to stay while their parents take the time they need to decide if adoption will be the plan for their child.


For Illinois expectant parents who need temporary care of an infant while they consider their decision, The Cradle’s on-site Nursery is available to provide temporary care. The average stay in the Nursery is about 3 weeks, although some babies stay with us only a day or two.

You may visit your baby at the Nursery and call for updates.


This temporary, nurturing environment is made available at no cost, regardless of the parent’s decision. The Nursery relies on private donations to operate.

Baby Care

The Cradle Nursery is staffed with experienced and compassionate licensed nurses, infant aides, and dedicated volunteers, who provide quality care to all infants entrusted to the care of The Cradle. Every baby that comes into our care is seen by a physician and our Medical Director is available whenever needed; a nurse and infant aide are on-site at all times.

Our Nursery staff spends the time getting to know each baby, providing stability as well as noting individual babies' sleeping patterns, eating habits, likes and dislikes. They then pass this essential information to the families bringing the babies home, whether it’s you or an adoptive family.

This Nursery is licensed to care for up to 20 infants at a time. The average stay in the Nursery is about 3 weeks, although some babies stay with us only a day or two.

Related Pages

Why does The Cradle have a Nursery?

Support The Cradle Nursery

A Typical Day in The Cradle Nursery


Take a Tour of the Nursery:

Video Transcript

Hello and welcome to The Cradle. When expectant parents choose to work with The Cradle to look at the option of adoption they’ll typically meet with a counselor somewhere near their home. But sometimes they’ll choose to come here to The Cradle at our main office in Evanston, Illinois. That’s not required however because many of our clients do live a great distance from us. We decided to make this video today to give you a look around The Cradle so that you can see where you might be working with a counselor, where you may choose to meet a prospective adoptive couple, and where, if you decide to have your baby come into our care after your discharge from the hospital, your baby would be in our nursery. We’ll also take a look at our belonging rooms where you may come and visit your baby during the time that your baby is with us as you continue to work with your counselor to make the best plans for both you and your child. So come with me and we’ll take a look around.

This is one of two family rooms here at The Cradle. Very important meetings take place in these spaces. One of the most important types is called the match meeting. A match meeting takes place after expectant parents have identified a prospective adoptive couple that they’d like to meet. The expectant parent has her or their counselor with them and the adoptive parents have their counselor with them as well to help get through that first and very important meeting. Other things that happen in these family rooms include placement ceremonies and sometimes after placement visits.

This is The Cradle’s nursery. Usually we have between six and eight babies in our care each day and every shift we have a licensed clinical nurse, baby cares specialists, and sometimes volunteer cuddlers. Everyone who cares for our babies, or rocks and cuddles them, does go through a rigorous background check. Sometimes people ask us about where we get the clothes and blankets and supplies for our babies. Actually, of course The Cradle buys many of those things, but many community groups also purchase and donate new materials like that to us. Other things people are curious about are what might happen if the baby had a medical emergency of any kind while in our care. When a mother makes a plan for The Cradle to provide temporary care for her baby, she does sign sign a medical permission slip for us to bring her baby for a well child checkup up. That slip also gives us permission to bring the baby for any emergency care that might be required. Of course, in that unlikely event, we would contact the mother immediately.

This is one of the two belonging rooms here at The Cradle. It’s a space where you might come to visit your baby during his or her stay with us. You would be invited to visit as often as daily and to bring the baby’s father, your family, or a close friend with you when you come to visit. You can also provide all of the care to your baby that he or she needs, including feeding your baby and diapering him or her.

I hope that this glimpse into some of the special spaces here at The Cradle has been interesting to you and answered some of the questions that you might have had. I also wish you luck on your journey as you continue to explore all of your options. Please remember The Cradle is here to help you navigate your way.